The arts centre and charity in Mill Dam, South Shields has suspended live theatre for September and October following concern over the rise in the covid infection rate.
Customs House executive director Ray Spencer said: “After consultation with performers and our partners in public health we have taken the decision to cancel live shows for September and October.
“We managed to have 11 live performances in our theatre, we managed to do it safely, we managed to bring a smile to your face and a tear to your eye. However, due to the rise in the covid infection rate here in South Tyneside, and indeed across the north east, we have decided to do what we consider to be the right thing.
“The right thing isn’t always what’s legally required but sometimes you have got to do what’s morally required and we feel that our moral obligation is to keep you safe and to keep our community as covid-free as we can.
“I have spoken to the artists that were due to grace our stage in September and October and they have agreed that the best way forward is to cancel those shows. We will review the situation in the future.
“So, another chapter in what seems to be the covid-saga but what we do know is we will be keeping our community safe and for now from The Customs House I can tell you the ghost light is back on.”
A ghost light is left on as a beacon of hope, ensuring that the theatre never goes completely dark and the light will return to the stage once more.
The decision to cancel live performances follows the venue’s closure of its restaurant and cinema earlier this week.
Shows due to go ahead in September and October included: Cook and Bennett are Blethering On, Cook and Hutchinson Have Literally No Plans Whatsoever, Jason Cook’s Comedy Club, A Live Audience With Adam Allinson and Joe McElderry: ‘The Tour that Couldn’t Tour’ Tour.
Staff at the theatre will be contacting customers, starting with the shows due to take place this weekend, in the coming days.